Saturday, May 15, 2010

Garden is all ready to go!

I spent today getting compost spread on my garden plots, putting up a fence to keep out the neighbor's free range chickens (Heather actually did most of the fence, I helped), and cutting down branches from the crab apple tree so my garden won't be in the shade all day.  It's pretty much all completely ready to plant and I've got all the starts or seeds I need.  Yay!  But I'm also completely worn out, so even though there's still a few hours of sunlight left, I'm calling it a day.  I really wish I were more healthy and in shape so I could get more work done.  :(  Then, again, that was part of the whole purpose behind growing a garden this summer -- a way to get me outside and active, and it's working so far.  Hopefully by the end of the summer, I'll be able to do a lot more in one go. 

Here's a picture of my garden area.  You can see there's still a small area of the closest plot that will be in shade during the late afternoon.  I'll just have to plant veggies that don't mind so much in that area.  :)  The tree is really pretty right now with all those big pink blooms, and standing under it is like standing near a beehive.  I couldn't believe how loud the buzz is!

Heather and I also went to see Iron Man 2 today.  It's my second viewing, but she hadn't seen it yet.  Awesome movie!  I love it!  I'm really such a nerd.  ;)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yay! Presents!

I didn't go to Manti until this last weekend for Mother's Day, so I didn't get to give my mom and sisters their presents until now.  So here are the pictures of them.  They are bottles for scented oil and diffuser reeds.  I encountered this new company, Cierra Ashley, at a craft fair a few weeks ago and I splurged on one for myself because it smelled so nice (and was less expensive than a candle).  Then I decided to play with decorating the bottle with some clay before adding the oil and this is what I ended up with.

It's a really basic polymer clay technique but one I hadn't tried before, so I thought it would be fun.  I just sandwiched a sheet of gold foil between a sheet of dark blue clay and a really, really thin sheet of transparent clay and sent the whole thing through the pasta roller a few times to crackle the foil.  I painted the glass with PVA glue and let that dry so the clay would have something to grab onto, smoothed the sheet in place, and then added the gold accents.  I was so pleased with it that I decided it would make an excellent gift for Mother's Day and for my sisters' birthdays, so I called up Heidi from Cierra Ashley and ordered 3 more.  I wanted 3 more round bulb-like ones like this one, but she only had two, so I had to get a square one.  That one went to Mom.

This is supposed to be faux abalone, so I was really thrilled when -- with no prompting from me -- Mom said that was what it looked like.  I thought the pearlized clays and pretty pastels really suited her.  For my sister Rachel, I made a clay basket, which was a great idea but took forever.
I textured the horizontal strips to make it look more like a straw basket, so before adding the final sealing coat they all got, I added a patina with some burnt umber acrylic paint to emphasize the texture.  There are three flowers around the rim of the "basket" and when I set out to make them, they were going to be sunflowers, but I just couldn't get them to look right, so I just made up these.  I call them "Rachel Flowers."
The idea for Emily's came from a turtle shell (she collects turtles) and is made from an extruded hexagonal cane.  The hexagonal shape didn't survice the process of making the pattern sheet very well, but I'm still pretty happy with the results.  I had a bit of that pattern sheet left over so I made a couple of cabochons that now only need a head, 4 legs, and a tail to look just like cool little turtles.  Not sure what I'll do with those yet...  I have a lot of the abalone cane left too, so I'll probably try to do something cool with that as well.